Tech Universe: Wedesday 13 June

By Miraz Jordan

The Move suit has sensors which read your body's position and muscle movement and provide feedback to help you do the postures correctly. Photo / Thinkstock
The Move suit has sensors which read your body's position and muscle movement and provide feedback to help you do the postures correctly. Photo / Thinkstock

SLIDING VISION: Being unable to see clearly is hugely detrimental, but can often be easily fixed with a pair of glasses. But the cost of and access to eye tests and spectacles is a big barrier for many.

Eyejusters spectacles include a pair of carefully shaped plastic lenses for each eye and a small adjustment knob that moves the SlideLens relative to the fixed lens. The wearer simply turns the knob until the two lenses line up in such a way that they can see clearly.
Simple, once you know how.

WIDE SIDE VIEW: When you look in the side mirror on your car you see only a very narrow field of view dash; around 17 degrees — and must beware the blind spot. But that kind of mirror's old hat now.

A maths professor from Drexel University in the USA figured out an algorithm to precisely control the angle of light bouncing off of the curving mirror.

That means the new mirror has a field of view of about 45 degrees without distortion. The only problem is that wide view could introduce distractions, I guess.

BACKPACK RATS: Left-over landmines are a huge problem in some parts of the world. Once something or someone heavy enough steps on one it'll explode. But rats aren't heavy enough to set them off and may be able to help locate them. A team at Bucknell University in the USA devised a system to train rats to recognise and respond to the explosives.

When a rat smells an explosive it's trained to circle. The rats wear miniature backpacks and wireless transmitters that track their positions and movements. The backpacks are also used in training that associates food rewards and a buzzer with desired behaviour. I guess rats are at least plentiful all over the world.

MAGNETIC TUMOURS: Combine iron, gold and platinum and you may be able to deliver drugs to exactly the part of the body that needs them.
Pharmacists at University of Sydney and collaborators in Scotland developed a new anticancer drug that has an iron oxide core only 5 nanometres wide. The platinum drug is attached to the gold and iron with strings of polymer and can then be moved with a magnet. Lab tests found the drug killed only cells near a magnet, leaving others unharmed. Be careful with the MRI machine though.

STRETCH AND TRACK: If you've ever injured yourself by trying too hard on a yoga pose you may be interested in Electricfoxy's concept Move yoga suit. The suit includes 4 stretch and bend sensors in the front, back and sides, with haptic feedback components in the hips and shoulders. The sensors read your body's position and muscle movement and provide feedback to help you do the postures correctly. A mobile app and cloud service let you save moves and do some tracking. It's not just for yoga though, as the garment can also be used for golf, pilates, dance, physical therapy and other applications. The early prototypes use Arduino. Yoga's one thing, but there are some for-profit businesses that could be interested in tracking every move
of a body.

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